- Turks introduced coffee to Europe and Anatolia was producing wine as early as 4,000 BC ….. read on for more interesting facts …..
- The only city in the world located on two continents is Istanbul, which has been the capital of three great empires, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman for more than 2,000 years.
- The number of archaeological excavations going on in Turkey every year is at least 150.
- The oldest known human settlement is in Catalhoyuk, Turkey (7,500 BC)
- Abraham was born in Şanlıurfa in South Eastern Turkey
- Anatolia is the birth place of historic legends such as Omar (the poet), King Midas, Herodotus (the father of history) and St Paul the Apostle.
- Julius Ceasar proclaimed his celebrated words, “Veni, Vidi, Vici” (I came, I saw, I conquered) in Turkey when he defeated the Pontus, a formidable kingdom in the Black Sea region of Turkey.
- St Nicholas, who became popular as Father Christmas, was born in Demre on Turkey’s Mediterranean Coast.
- According to legend, Noah’s Ark landed on Ağrı Dağı (Mount Ararat) in Eastern Turkey.
- The last meal on Noah’s Ark, a pudding with nearly 20 ingredients, is still served throughout Turkey.
- The last home of Virgin Mary is in Selçuk (near Ephesus)
- St John, St Nicholas, St Paul and St Peter have all lived and prayed in Southern Anatolia.
- Part of Turkey’s South Western shore was a wedding gift that Mark Anthony gave to Cleopatra (you can visit many ruins of Cleopatra’s not too far away from Dalyan)
- Homer was born in Izmir on the west coast of Turkey and he depicted Troy in his Epic the Illiad.
- Aesop, famous for his fables and parables, was born in Anatolia.
- Leonardo da Vinci drew designs for a bridge over the Bosphorus, the strait that flows through Europe and Asia. It was never built.
- Alexander the Great conquered a large territory in what is now Turkey and cut the Gordion Knot in the Phrygian capital (Gordium) not far from Turkey’s present day capital (Ankara).
- Istanbul’s Robert College (established in 1863), is the oldest American school outside the United States.
- Early Christians escaping Roman persecution nearly 2,000 years ago sheltered in Cappadocia in Central Anatolia.
- The Amazons originated in Turkey’s North Eastern region.
- The famous Trojan wars took place in western Turkey, around the site where a wooden statue of the Trojan Horse rests today (not too far away from Gelipoli)
- Accordingly to Turkish tradition a stranger at one’s doorstep is considered “A guest from God” and should be accommodated accordingly.
- The first church built by man (St Peter’s Church) is in Antioch (Antakya).
- The first Ecumenical Council was held in Iznik
- Süleyman the Magnificent (the famous Ottoman Sultan) was a poet who wrote over 3,000 poems, some of them criticising the greed of mankind.
- Turkey is a longtime member of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) since 1952.
- Turkey provides 70 percent of the world’s hazelnuts; the nut in your chocolate bar was most probably grown in Turkey.
- Istanbul has a 540 year old covered shopping mall of 64 streets, 4,000 shops, 22 entrances and 25,000 workers – the famous Grand Bazaar.
- The most valuable silk carpet in the world, is in the Mevlana Museum, Konya with 144 knots per square centimetre. In the 13th century Marco Polo wrote “the best and handsomest of rugs are woven here, and also silks of crimson and other rich colours”.
- Hezarfen Ahmed Çelebi was the first man who flew a significant distance using wings across the Bosphorus (Visit the Gallati Tower near Taksim Square on the Asian side of Istanbul, wonderful views and a great place for something to eat too – entertainment in the evenings).
- Anatolia is the location of the first known beauty contest, judged by Paris, with Aphrodite, Hera and Athena as leading participants.
- Turkey receives children from around the world each year on April 23 to “honour and cherish the freedom and independence of all people”.
- Anatolia is the location of seven Churches of Asia.
- Tulips and Snowdrops are native to Anatolia. Ogier Chiselin De Busberg introduced tulips to Holland in 1554.
- Opium poppies are an Anatolian plant species. Good quality plants contain Morphine and Codeine, which is obtained from the milk of the plant. Oil from the seed is used in soap and bread. It grows just once a year for harvesting.
- Pizza originates from Anatolia, not Italy.
- Is the birthplace of St Paul.
- Was the first to produce and use coins 2,700 years ago.
- Gave the English language many words including turquoise, parchment, yogurt and angora and Turkish are the origins of the names Philadelphia, Paris and Europe.
- Is where Noah’s Ark landed, at Mount Ararat in Eastern Turkey.
- Is the location of two of the 7 wonders of the world: The Temple of Artemis & Mausoleum at Halicarnassus.
- Is the birthplace of King Midas of the “Midas touch” who turned everything he touched to gold.
- Is where State Insurance was first provided for losses of tradesman, before the 13th century.
- Provides 70% of the words hazelnuts.
- Was founded as a modern republic in 1923 by one of the greatest leaders in history, Atatürk.
- Was where the cherry was first found, by Romans who planted it throughout the world.
- One of the Three Kings who made a pilgrimage may have come from Anatolia, bearing Frankincense, a Tree native to Turkey.
- The Turkish Flag: In the 14th Century was White, 15th it was changed to Red. At one time it was Green with white crescents. Each represented a continent of Ottoman rule. In the 18th Century it was red with an eight-pointed star and a crescent. According to legend, a Turkish Commander was walking around a battlefield and noticed a reflection of a star in the bloodshed. This was chosen for the symbol of the flag. After the foundation of the Republic the flag had a combination of the star and one crescent that is the one you will see today.
- Ataturk: You will see images of this man everywhere you go in Turkey, Schools, banks, shops, bars and restaurants. Born Mustafa in 1881 in Salonika. During his schooling he was given the nickname of Kemal meaning Perfection. He joined the Military and was soon proving his abilities as a master of strategies in the First World War at Galipolli. In 1920 he was elected President of the Grand National Assembly. He made many changes to Turkey, including giving votes to women in 1934, before France, which gave women the right to vote in 1944. He banned the wearing of the Fez, Adopted the Latin alphabet he was said to have changed it in just eleven days. Traditional clothing was replaced with western style clothing. Turkish people had to take a surname, Mustafa Kemal chose Ataturk meaning Father of Turks. He adopted a new Civil Law code, established a Republic and suppressed religious brotherhoods. Without Ataturk Turkey would not be what it is today. All Turks love Ataturk, and on the anniversary of his death Nov 10th at 09.05 the whole country observes a silence
Meaning of the flag
Meaning of flags is a difficult topic, especially when flags are very ancient. There is usually sparse historical evidence and a lot of legends. Moreover, individuals may have their own interpretation of their national flag.
“Red has been prominent in Turkish flags for 700 years. The star and crescent are Muslim symbols, but also have a long pre-Islamic past in Asia Minor. The basic form of the national flag was apparently established in 1793 under Sultan Selim III, when the green flags used by the navy were changed to red and a white crescent and multipointed star were added. The five-pointed star dates from approximately 1844. Except for the issuance of design specifications, no change was made when the Ottoman Empire became the Republic of Turkey and the caliphate (religious authority) was terminated. Many traditions explain the star and crescent symbol. It is known that Diana was the patron goddess of Byzantium and that her symbol was a moon. In 330, the Emperor Constantine rededicated the city – which he called Constantinople – to the Virgin Mary, whose star symbol was superimposed over the crescent. In 1453 Constantinople was captured by the Ottoman Turks and renamed Istanbul, but its new rulers may have adopted the existing emblem for their own use”
“A reflection of the moon occulting a star, appearing in pools of blood after the battle of Kossovo in 1448 [the battle during which the Ottomans defeated the Christian forces and established the Ottoman Empirein Eastern Europe until the end of the XIXth century], led to the adoption of the Turkish flag by Sultan Murad II according to one legend. Others refer to a dream of the first Ottoman Emperor in which a crescent and star appeared from his chest and expanded, presaging the dynasty’s seizure of Constantinople. At least three other legends explain the flag.”
Ivan Sache, 20 January 1999
Florence Nightingale and the Museum
just a piece of history that you might find interesting!
In the October of 1854 when war was declared against Russia, Miss Nightingale with 38 nurses traveled to Istanbul to organize a nursing unit to care for the wounded from the Crimean battle front.
On arrival she found 2,300 wounded already installed in the Selimiye Military Barracks at Uskudar (Scudari). Within weeks the numbers rose to 10,000 wounded Turkish, French and British soldiers. She saw the over crowding of the wards, corridor and even the towers. She believed that the bad sanitary arrangements (common to all hospitals at that time) plus the overcrowding were responsive for the frightening mortality rate.
To this day she is known as “The lady of the lamp”, this phrase was coined by the wounded men who looked forward to her nightly visits as she made her way through the maze of corridors and wards, lighting her way with a candle lamp.
At the end of the Crimean War, the Barracks reverted to the purpose it was built for. An impressive building built in 1800 can easily be seen from the European shore, situated at the entrance of the Bosphorus on the Anatolian side.
This book is a true story of how June Haimoff, now in her 80’s and still living in Dalyan, found herself in a fight to save a Caretta caretta breeding site from exploitation for mass tourism. Dalyan is a very special part of the world and the, a spit of golden sand, is a beautiful part of the Turkish coastline. A truly interesting and historical place with Lycian Rock Tombs, and an ancient Roman City, Caunos, overlooking the delta, beach and out to sea.
The story of Kaptan June, as the locals called her, is gripping, amusing and pragmatic account is firmly placed in its local setting. When you read her account, and see Dalyan as it is today, it’s hard to believe that she moved to what then was a remote Turkish village in 1975. June tell the story of the campaign, how it divided the locals, together with stories of real Turkish village life and the pleasures and pitfalls of life as a solitary woman in an Eastern culture.
From the Foreword by David Bellamy. ‘dazzling, magnificent it stretched away in a flawless white arc, losing itself into the far distance under a summer haze. Serene, solitary and mysterious’ is a story of a passionate campaign – involving local, national and international authorities – not only to save the turtles from the imminent invasion to prepare for a huge resort hotel (the bulldozers had already started work) directly on the beach but also to conserve the paradise in which they lived from the ravages of tourism’s concrete blocks.
June Haimoff fell in love with Dalyan and was passionate to preserve it, together with the turtles and other wild life which she continues to do even today. She is a formidable lady! June tells her story with courage, humour, compassion and, above all, hope for a future in which all species may live together in harmony.
Previously published in 1997 as Kaptan June and the Turtles, the Second Edition features a new Prologue, two additional Chapters, bringing the story up to date, and an Index.
June has written another book that has been published (the public wanted to know more about her), Breakfast With Kaptan June, and is currently writing on another book about her life prior to saving the turtles.
June is a very talented lady, having written and performed her own songs and we are fortunate to have a copy of the ones she wrote for her campaign to protect Dalyan – it is now a conservation area. Tom has performed with June and we have had the privilege of sharing some special times with her, as you will see from the photo’s of June in fancy dress! She looks very glamorous and elegant, in fact I mistakenly thought a portrait in June’s house was her from many years ago but I recently learned that it’s actually one of Marilyn Monroe!
Did you know that ….
You can’t change the past, but you can change the way you view it – Anthony Robbins
Serdar’s Snippets (owner of Digby’s Café) –
Learn about Turkish Culture
We have had a few coffees at Digby’s over the last few weeks, giving ourselves a break at the end of the day – it is very quiet at Spectrum with just the two of us! We went with Serdar and his wife, Mine pronounced Minnie), to Fethiye because they had never been before, so we were their tour guides. When we were in the old part, with Ottoman style windows and the amphitheatre nearby, I pointed to a jewellery shop where we bought my engagement and wedding ring (that’s another story, another time!). Serdar explained that they don’t have engagement rings in Turkey, they simply buy a wedding ring and place it on the ring finger of their right hand, transferring it to the left hand when they get married. I doubt the idea will catch on in the UK!
Photo of Hanife’s engagement: here she is with Hasan, her huband, his parents and his father’s Mum – some of you have met them on the farm near Spectrum, where our apartment is.
We didn’t know that before, nor did we realise that when Turkish people get married, very often they have the registry office/serve part of the wedding but don’t actually live together until after the “reception celebrations” (best way to describe it) which could be 3 months later! The bride doesn’t wear a white wedding dress at this service, like Hanife, she wore a smart suit unless the reception is on the same day. Hanife wore her white wedding dress with red sash at her “reception” celebrations.
Generally, from our experience, there is no food or drink provided, so it’s just a night of dancing, dancing, dancing with a break when it’s time to pin money on the bride & groom, or they are given jewellery – that’s why you see lots of gold bangles in jewellery shops in Ortaca and Fethiye, not so much in Dalyan. It’s also why they can afford to invite hundreds of people because it doesn’t cost them much to have so many guests, well apart from giving pieces of wedding cake! We’ve had more wedding invitations here in the last 10 years than we’ve had all the years we lived in the UK.
The hen party is nothing like you’d expect either. The bride to be usually has a lovely new frock – often like a wedding dress, not white of course but similar to what you can see from what Hanife is wearing for her engagement celebrations – and there’s music and lots of dancing of course with the added tradition of a blob of henna on the palm of their hands and finger tips. At one function I saw what I thought was a cake with candles and was thinking the cake wasn’t big enough for everyone to get a piece, so you can imagine my surprise when a young lady came over to me with a napkin but instead it holding a piece of cake there was a blob of henna! I think it’s a shame they don’t apply the henna like they would in India, such beautiful patterns. When you see their hands against the white of their wedding dress it doesn’t look very pretty, in fact they look like incredibly heavy smokers!
However the stag party is very different because there is food and drink! Let me tell you how we found out the difference:
Many years ago when we first lived here, Tom told me we’d been invited to a wedding which was in the garden – actually more like a field – only metres from our apartment, a relation of our landlord. I was surprised to see the bride in a peach marble coloured dress; I thought she was very modern not wearing white! I commented that there weren’t many men at this wedding and then a man we knew came and had a word with Tom and off he went, disappeared for the rest of the night. I didn’t know where he’d gone, until he returned home quite merry, denying that alcohol had been served! I felt like a lucky mascot, a yabanci (foreigner) being at the hen party as it turned out to be (I kept waiting thinking the groom was going to turn up sometime!), they kept asking me to join in with the dancing and I’d often end up in the middle with them all dancing around me! I left eventually because I was hungry – Tom had told me there would be food and drink which I thought was unusual for a wedding (!) but of course he was alright, wherever he went.
I’ve put a clip of Hanife’s wedding on YouTube where you can see the sashes they were wearing pinned with money, see them and many of their guests dancing plus how Turkish people respectfully kiss their elders. Their wedding was held in Gocek, where Hanife is from and her parents and other family members still live –their homes are on the mountain overlooking the marina where most of you have sailed from when doing the 12 islands boat trip. There’s no need to hire a hall here when you can simply use an “open space” or the special salons built for wedding celebrations. Their engagement celebrations were held where the weekly market is situated, not exactly a pretty location but who cares when you are simply dancing all night? Their wedding was in a more special location, actually in the modern amphitheatre at the far end of the marina, alongside the. See YouTube: http://youtu.be/n8kDcwSh1pQ
These are just our experiences of local weddings, hen parties etc. Many families in Dalyan follow a more traditional Turkish village life style which is probably a very different experience than in Istanbul where some of you live